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In Favor Of Bilingualism

Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc.

Caleb Gattegno


vol. VII no. 5

June 1978

First published in 1978. Reprinted in 2009. Copyright Š 1978-2009 Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. Author: Caleb Gattegno All rights reserved ISBN 978-0-87825-290-9 Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. 2nd Floor 99 University Place, New York, N.Y. 10003-4555

This issue is mainly occupied by a longish paper that purports to present a coherent theory about bilingualism and multicultural education. Because in the USA bilingualism is a political issue that is less compelling than it is in Canada or Belgium, its educational significance is often blurred. The paper we publish here we feel may be needed by educators whenever they wish to have a rational basis for their vision that a number of students now in the U. S. schools would become more valuable to the community at large if they were educated to become truly bilingual. Of course, this paper is only concerned with one issue and does not claim to encompass the fields of bilingualism and multiculturalism as they are examined by a number of investigators and educators. Its main strength is the explicit attempt at producing a theoretical framework that seems to be absent at this hour in the field. A theory is only valuable if it permits one to solve problems which remain puzzling without it; this criterion applies here too. Specialists in the field may wish to test it beyond the suggestions included here. It has not been possible to ascertain whether this article has been published in California in a collection that was to appear a year ago and for which it was prepared. By publishing it in our Newsletter we make it available at least to our readers who may be the best public to appreciate such a theory. The news items take us to other lands and contribute to the widening of the informal association of the supporters of the subordination of teaching to learning.

Table of Contents

A Theory Of Bilingual-Transcultural Education.................... 1 A Theory Of Bilingual And Transcultural Education ........................ 4 Relation Of Languages To Modes Of Thought .................................. 7 A Historical Perspective .....................................................................8 Values Of True Bilingualism .............................................................11 Epilogue............................................................................................ 15 News Items ..........................................................................17

A Theory Of Bilingual-Transcultural Education

The function of a theory is to integrate what is known in a field in such a way as to aid specialists in their search for new knowledge. A theory can be proposed in a number of ways. In the various sciences for example, we find theories of evolution (which attempt to make sense in an integrated manner of all facts in the field of biology), a theory of relativity (which proposes to consider in an integrated spacetime continuum the phenomena of the physical universe), a quantum theory (which suggests that energy, like matter, be conceived as multiples of minimal amounts or quanta), a theory of fluids (based on a number of axioms from which properties of fluids can be deduced and experimentally tested for reality), and so on. To remain popular, a theory must prove fertile, i.e. allow researchers to discover new facts or make sense of what has previously seemed unexplainable, or introduce order where there has been none, and the like. When a good theory has been proposed, so many fields of study are stimulated that even though the theory may later be discredited, researchers try to formulate a modification or a substitute theory. Many fields (e.g. meteorology, geology, economics and medicine) have flourished without an overall conception that unifies the facts. Investigators tend to value the advent of a unifying theory since it helps them in their thinking and guides them in their research. But they also


In Favor Of Bilingualism

know that studies can be carried out empirically without a theoretical basis. Education is a field in which research has been going on for many decades within a variety of theoretical orientations, which, while akin to theories, may have been formulated as definitions only. For example, “education as transmission of knowledge” is more a definition than a theory. In this paper, we propose a theory of education which has broad applicability, although we limit its presentation to a subfield, that of the bilingual-transcultural education. We must first circumscribe the components of the field we shall work on. Education deals with changes that are not merely the outcome of the passage of time, which produces “growth” from a seed to an organized whole. That growth can be perceived as an “unfolding process” entirely foreshadowed in the original seed; or as chiefly affected by conditions in the environment; or as affected by the individual’s participation in its growth in certain ways. The environment may require adaptation, which leads to a process more complicated than mere “unfolding.” This adaptation process, a two-way process, known to biologists as “assimilation and accommodation,” takes into account both the developing individual and the milieu. But since the individual belongs to a species — which maintains certain permanent features from generation to generation, there is also another component called heredity. Educators, inspired first by biologists and later by sociologists, have more recently tried to view their activities as involving the “interaction of nature and nurture,” the individual with his heredity representing nature, and the impacts of the environment representing nurture. That viewpoint has constituted one basis for progressive education in all its guises, a recognition that freedom is required by the individual to fulfill his destiny, while discipline is needed to learn the tools (reading, mathematics, etc.) so that the individual’s cultural heritage can be made available to him. The full spectrum of educational experiences 2

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available from almost total freedom (as in A. S. Neil’s school) to total discipline (as in Durkheim-inspired French schools) has meant that education has gone through a period of experimentation in an attempt to gather evidence concerning what can be done and what must be avoided if children are to reach desired goals. Seventy-five years of such searching have failed to produce the basis for an acceptable theory of education, although they have enriched education in many ways, especially in the field of techniques and materials. Most of the teaching aids and the curriculum innovations so avidly adopted after both World Wars, the alternatives to bookish learning accepted today, almost all have come from the progressive educators of this century (Montessori, Decroly, Dewey, Parkhurst, Cousinet, Freinet, and others). The question of who has the authority to impose changes, to transform others, was raised as soon as the supernatural authorities were dethroned. Ultimately, only the individual himself, who is prepared to pay the price for his mistakes, is entitled to commit his time and energy to what seems to him to be his best interest. Anyone who takes upon himself such responsibility on behalf of another is abusing his power. If for the good merchant the customer is always right, for the good educator the learner is always right. So a new theory makes its appearance, that of the educator as facilitator of progress toward goals chosen by the learner. But what is the individual’s basis for choosing? Are children knowledgeable? If we ask in terms of the knowledge accumulated by the generations, they are not. But if we look at the proficiency with which they achieve lasting learning, they must be. We all know our mother tongue better than the foreign languages we are taught at school. We learned our mother tongue between the ages 1 and 4, with only our own curiosity to aid us as we explored our physical-social environment. (Parents and others, of course, provide models, reinforcement, and answers to questions.) To have managed language learning so young tells us that we must be capable of learning


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difficult things very early. In fact, at all ages we manage very well alone in our games, drawings, and other symbolic activities. Learning seems to be a spontaneous function of the “self,” one we are fully dedicated to for some time. As children we often seem to know what we can do and what we cannot; when uncertain, we test new situations with attention to feedback. We find our will on the side of certain actions for which we are ready, and it is the true facilitator. Children work hard on tasks that are challenging to them, and with persistence, they learn new behaviors. So it is important to know the will and its functionings — not only for learners but for the educators. No one can learn to stand or walk without being watchful or aware. Many other activities of babies reveal at once how watchful they have to be to find their way in a universe so full of surprises and under the control of outsiders. Babies use their will to reach mastery because it is theirs, and with it they manage to acquire the enormous experience every inventory of their learning will display. All this leads to the inevitable conclusion: only awareness is educable in man, and only self- education is true education.

A Theory Of Bilingual And Transcultural Education With such a solid principle on which to build, we can propose a theory of bilingual and transcultural education — of value to students, teachers and the general public. We shall begin with a clarifying example. Our hand, as an instrument of the self, serves many purposes, some precise (e.g. writing a string of words in any script), others gross (e.g. scrubbing floors). Besides the hand there is the reality of the self that knows the hand, commands it and involves it. The will is an attribute of that self. Awareness is another. Still other attributes of the self are: intelligence, retention, affectivity, perception, action and reflection. 4

A Theory Of Bilingual-Transcultural Education

To become aware is a requirement of meaningful living. But to create automatisms frees the self; by subordinating routine activities, one can focus on learning what is new. Hence, much of what one is escapes one’s awareness. We may appear to have achieved nothing worthy of note when actually so much has been contributed by each of us, using activities we have mastered but now requiring reduced awareness. We may fail to take pride in our remarkable achievements because neither we nor others have developed as grownups the habit of conscious awareness. Education of awareness must begin by focusing on its attainment, so that everyone can know that conscious awareness of many aspects of living previously routinized is attainable and is fundamental to meaningful daily living. With bilingual people awareness of their highly developed throat capacities can serve this purpose. What mono-lingual people cannot do, bilingual people can do easily. Bilingual people can use their throats and mouths spontaneously to produce two complex sets of very different sounds, shifting in response to environmental cues and their own intentions. Hence, like one’s hand, one’s sound-production system is capable of performing different sets of complex functions in a way that most people cannot do. A bilingual person can become aware of his or her wealth, or his or her worth as a functioning human being, simply by increased awareness and appreciation of this ability to speak and to switch languages at will. The consciousness of one’s self as bilingual can stop at simple awareness, but it can also extend one’s education much further. One should be helped to realize that languages are not merely sets of words, but are also transmitted expressions of the spirit of those who, over many generations, have expressed specific thoughts within specific habitats, made specific demands and offered specific opportunities; with this awareness, one comes to realize that through one’s past experiences there have developed other powers which may be accessible and utilizable. This awareness is one of the new purposes of a bilingual education based on good foundations: a purpose which, while offering sufficient grounds for bicultural education, indicates that


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transcendence of one’s limitations is achievable and that a rich transcultural education is possible. It is difficult to view bilingual education in terms of traditional education because: 1) language development involves complex expressive and receptive skills, not memorized knowledge, 2) language production simultaneously involves the smooth working of automatisms and a conscious process of producing precisely what one wants to say, and 3) the complexities of language are not consciously understood by those who use it routinely as a means of communication only. Almost everyone takes for granted one of the most promising bases for knowing ourselves, i.e. our heritage as integrated in our language, our gestures and other unconscious manifestations, as well as our hopes for the future in terms of personal and cultural advancement. As a forceful analogy, let us consider how past generations disregarded important sources of energy (like coal or waterfalls) which could not be made to increase our wealth and our standard of living until someone discovered their latent power. This analogy should help us to see the promise of latent, undiscovered abilities in the bilingual population. Since bilingual education has not become integrated into the traditional mono-lingual education system, it is necessary to initiate profound changes in education — profound in the sense that educators will be required to re-evaluate the philosophical basis of their work. We must perceive ourselves as learning systems, expressing a variety of sensitivities by: •

recognizing ourselves as masters of the subtle energy that energizes our functionings in our utterance system, our hearing system, and in our intelligence;

recognizing that we possess two complex sets of verbal and auditory images which are triggered abruptly when one reacts differentially to the content of the world or our inner dynamics;


A Theory Of Bilingual-Transcultural Education

recognizing inner climates that accompany listening to people talking, inner climates which differ as the language differs;

recognizing that we have access to our thought per se as transcending specific languages;

recognizing that we understand many things that escape mono-linguals, and thus that we are equipped with more explicit powers and have access to a world that is closed to many others.

As educators we must consider it our responsibility to bring our bilingual students to these realizations, which go beyond the goals of traditional monolingual education. Educators must become attuned to the “linguistic person” in our students. The social and cultural aspects which are implicit in the spirit of the languages constitute another important universe of experience.

Relation Of Languages To Modes Of Thought Most mono-linguals do not recognize their inability to perceive the existence of many modes of thought among mankind. Rather, they consider their own thought system as universal, and independent of their language. Anthropologists, however, have become sensitive to variations in the way people see themselves and their world; they know the fallacy of assuming that a single mode of thought exists, with all others considered to be approximations — some remote and others closer. The multiplicity of modes of extant thought is proof to the anthropologist of variations in actual life demands on various peoples. If one population is active and productive, its members notice certain aspects of their world and wish to explain and control them. Another population may be much more concerned with inner life and given to contemplating the universe; these people wish to convey what they perceive as most important.


In Favor Of Bilingualism

These two populations will differ in more than vocabulary. The very ways they make their language behave will distinguish them, revealing the spirit of their language and their mode of thought. Conversely, it may be possible to understand how a population perceives itself and its world by studying the language. If this is true, then, the truly bilingual person has two modes of thought at his/her disposal in one somatic system, both available for communication with mono-lingual groups, whose members may not suspect the existence of the other.

A Historical Perspective The English language was developed first in the British Isles where its characteristics were molded by the styles of living and modes of thought peculiar to that habitat. Having developed over centuries an adequate response to the human, climatic, and geographic opportunities and challenges of their habitat, the English-speaking people found themselves preferring certain activities. Their language became a language of merchants, travelers, and, swift exploiters of opportunities. They stressed action rather than abstract thought, implicitness rather than explicitness. They accept ambiguities in statements because they disappeared in action, a characteristic which made them give a particularly important place to verbs and prepositions. Now, almost any word can become a verb in English and convey more meaning in that form. When exported to other habitats, such as what are today the United States and Australia, the English language acquired distinctive features causing people to speak of “the barrier of a common language,” a reference to differentiated features of the English as spoken in Britain, Australia and the United States. Several factors influenced the cultures of these and other countries to prefer a modified English language to an entirely new language of their own. The English language is appropriate for activities connected with trade and technology; since “action” is basic to these activities, English


A Theory Of Bilingual-Transcultural Education

supplied a very good instrument for communication. In the United States, which has developed an idiosyncratic culture centered on technology, the ease of adaptation of English was particularly welcome. Today, the whole world seems ready to adopt American English as the language of commercial and industrial transactions simply because it makes such transactions easy; the dominance of English is not considered to symbolize dominance of one superpower. The Spanish language developed in the Iberic peninsula soon after it was reconquered from the Moors barely five hundred years ago. The Spanish conquest of parts of the American hemisphere introduced Spanish dialects to that hemisphere and, two hundred fifty years later gave them the codified language of the Spanish academy. Unlike English, Spanish was not developed to meet the needs of trade and technology. The economy of Spain and its colonies has lagged behind that of the English-speaking world; in fact, it still does, not only because of geography and technology lag, but also because other components of life, for which they developed means of expression in their language were more highly valued. Action is not the main preoccupation of Spanish-speaking people. Introspection is perceived as giving greater joys and satisfactions. Since each person lives “not for bread alone” and develops a personal philosophy of life, the language and themes handled give Spanish people the power to imagine, to procrastinate, to create fiction and to realize themselves in fantasy rather than in reality. In that inner climate, Spanish cadences are stimuli that confirm and deepen the love for certain life styles. Through its oral tradition and literature, the Spanish language encourages the perpetuation of certain attitudes which become fulfilled in the acts of living and which, in turn, perpetuate the language, its spirit and attributes. Still, both Spanish and English have been created for use by ordinary folk, to express the trivial and common as well as the exceptional. Nevertheless, their predilections, which clearly distinguish them, are evident in the expression of very different perceptions of what life is all about. The English “to expect,” for example, is rendered in Spanish by “tener ilusión,” this contrast illustrating two different “climates” or


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attitudes toward life. In Spanish, “to love” and “to want” are rendered by the one verb “querer,” expressing a passion absent in both English words, and in both notions taken separately. In Spanish “esperar” may mean “to hope” and “to wait,” as if the second could not be endured without the first. The mode of thought implicit in the Spanish language can be characterized by the luxury of details that makes one linger with items contemplated, that makes one like long strings of adjectives and allusions to what might be present in a situation beyond what one perceives. What attracts in life is intensity, presence, passion, and a feel that one is living at whatever cost in time or progress. In fact, the common use of the subjunctive as the dominant mood implies the suspected presence in all situations of something unforeseen and mysterious, affecting their outcomes. From such a view of Spanish, one understands why the English word “mood” has been associated with all the verb tenses lumped together under the label of the subjunctive. Ambiguity is tolerated by English-speaking people in the realm where action is decisive, but not by Spanish-speaking people, who require mention of all relevant facts to avoid intellectual confusion. For Spanish-speaking people, reference to examples does not have the appeal and significance English-speaking people find in them. In fact, there seems to be no need for examples when an abstract statement is verbally coherent. The English language is what I call a “spoken language,” one in which the voice via intonation contributes a great deal to comprehension. It follows logically that written English molds itself on the spoken language, as can be seen in its use of punctuation. On the other hand Spanish is “a written language,” which conveys many more shades of meaning through writing than through speaking. Note the peculiar use in Spanish of question marks and exclamation marks, announcing in the middle of a sentence the intention of questioning or commenting as if the voice alone could not do it. Also, note that Spanish entrusts to marked accents the shift of stress from typical usage.


A Theory Of Bilingual-Transcultural Education

Many details could be cited that illustrate how the modes of thoughts of the English or Spanish-speaking people have affected their respective languages. Learning these languages well requires mastery of the modes of thought that have molded expression in those languages. Hence, we must consider how bilingualism helps in knowing a new kind of man, capable of contrasting modes of thought that prove compatible when dwelling in one mind and yet are seemingly in sharp contrast when expressed in different societies. Perhaps in some peoples’ minds, the aim of bilingual-transcultural education is to enable people from outside the “mainstream” to adjust to the majority culture in the “host” country. But we will identify what needs to be done in order to produce a transcultural population, a new contribution to this historical moment. In this paper we give bilingualism another meaning. We take advantage of what can be revealed in a study of bilingual people in order to adequately establish goals for a bilingual-transcultural education. Our theory will then serve practice.

Values Of True Bilingualism Until now, we have focused our attention on the bilingual as a person. We have not emphasized the power of the bilingual; this power has often been minimized by those who choose to seek power through money or social position. Since the power of money and social position are powers outside oneself, they can be taken away. Moreover, when the mistake is made of stressing external sources of power, the consequence may be the feelings of unworthiness that so many bilingual people experience. It is true that there are relatively few functioning bilinguals. It is also true that some bilinguals who are highly visible in the political scene have not made the effort required to become truly bilingual (i.e., in the sense of losing all trace of accent when using the second language, while maintaining proficiency in their first language). Their claims to powerful positions in the community at large are weakened by their


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maintenance of distinctive features in their speech, which lead others to think of them as alien to the culture in which they live. Many bilingual people, however, have managed to function as natives in both languages. These people who can transcend the limiting effects of any single culture to which is added what their proficiency in two or more languages permits. This transcendence is compatible with a mastery of the content of the culture (s) transcended, permitting a person to function “naturally” in those contexts which he has mastered. Having grown beyond a certain level of self-awareness, the bilingual person does not lose the power of living at the previous level, but loses only the more limited perspective that goes with that level. Hence, the bilingual can relate to mono-lingual people in each group without identifying emotionally with either group, although accepted as one in them. Rather than producing “inferior natives” incapable of being at home in either group and in either language, a true bilingual education, which leads people to transcend what is limiting in each culture, will produce a new brand of citizen badly needed in our constantly more interdependent, shrinking world, our “global village.” This transcultural leap should not be viewed simply as a technique for survival, but rather as a technique for achieving a richer self-awareness and increased ability to understand diverse cultures. The world today needs people who spontaneously think and act as inhabitants of the “global village.” True bilingual education, if effectively done, can produce such people more easily than can monolingual, national, or even sectarian education, which have produced too few such people in the past. Bilingual education, as we have seen above, gives us the opportunity to realize new potentialities in ourselves. We not only master two languages as well as natives do, but we also achieve enhanced personal and interpersonal awareness. This enhanced, more competent self is constantly at work transcending the immediate and making choices in terms of a vision of the future. Transcultural education has as its immediate concern the specific job of educating people who, in the near future, will have to deal routinely 12

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with men and women who have “inherited” specific languages and modes of thought, which are unfamiliar to them. The bilingual person capable of understanding and appreciating different languages and modes of thought, can serve those people impartially and adequately, utilizing their special competencies just as engineers do when invited to build dams or bridges. Learning one new language after another, more easily each time, the multilingual person learns to appreciate each culture, considering them neither alien nor curious, but rather as the expression of a people who are communicating as naturally in their linguistic forms as we do in our own. Joyful savoring of that which is different becomes the real, the truly interesting thing in life. As transcending beings, we strive to develop all the possible facets of ourselves; and we, in turn, can help others to become educated as “whole” human beings, the human beings of mankind rather than persons with limited vision. Only education of awareness can develop such transcendence. Today, only among bilingual educators and transcultural educators do we find the interest and the necessary cultural background for making explicit the means of attaining the wellsprings that will revolutionize education to meet the needs of the future. Since the necessary transformation of educators is an inner one — one of awareness, it will not be obtained solely by spending funds, which are becoming increasingly scarce. Exposing educators to the insights concerning what “education of awareness” entails and how easy it will be to make profound changes — once that awareness has been developed — is perhaps the strategy we should follow. Reflection, dialogue and involvement will develop needed insights and will convince educators that we can prepare for the future by our willingness to receive and use the insights gained by our students and ourselves in bilingual and transcultural education. *** Our theory for bilingual and transcultural education can be summed up as follows:


In Favor Of Bilingualism

Since it is probably impossible to recast traditional, mono-lingual education to produce true bilingual, transcultural education, we must look for the foundation of tomorrow’s education somewhere other than in tradition. We can find this foundation in the premise that only awareness is educable in man and that the only true education is self-education. Awareness of oneself as engaged in the production of the diverse sound systems of two languages — a demonstrated ability of bilingual people — constitutes evidence that the self controls mental functionings which, in turn, control somatic functions. This hierarchy is demonstrated in the phenomenon of two different linguistic systems functioning in one person. To help the learner progress from this awareness to the conviction that bilingual persons are actually better adapted than mono-lingual persons to the needs of modern times, we may need the intervention of a well-prepared educator. This educator, who understands the process of transcendence, must help each student to make contact with the “self at work through will and experience,” and consequently to a study of what is to be gained from true bilingual and transcultural education. Similarly the capacity to live joyfully and purposefully, involved in two cultures that may appear very different, can be transformed into yet another awareness — that the self can transcend diverse forms while being able to accept and experience them. A transcultural education is actualized when the individual concerned is not only at home in more than one culture, but also can find in himself the ability to learn from any man of any age. enjoying shared experiences; when differences arise between people, instead of generating fears or doubts they create eagerness to know each other well. A bilingual-transcultural educational theory proves itself by its applications to what goes on in schools and homes.


A Theory Of Bilingual-Transcultural Education

Epilogue The theory presented in this paper allows us to see how bilingual people can become aware that they are capable of certain contributions outside the grasp of mono-lingual people. The theory, indeed, makes more precise what is meant by transcultural education. Transcultural education means two things. First, it is the process that permits one to discover that one can be simultaneously of two cultures, can think and communicate in two languages, and can find oneself, when moving from one to the other, in a state that transcends both. Second, it is the totality of what one has achieved after using that process to the point that one can think and speak as a person at home in both cultures, spontaneously and freely mastering both languages. Awareness of that transcendence, based on true bilingualism, would be the chief purpose of transcultural education. Gaining facility in this process of becoming aware of one’s awareness, is possible for all who open themselves to the experience, since it is a basic aspect of human functioning. What is new here is that one does it in the universes of (1) language (by being involved in using oneself as a bilingual speaker, moving freely from one language to another) and (2) culture (by finding oneself ready to adopt two modes of existence in two distinct cultures in which one can live with ease). For this awareness of transcendence to exist, the moment when one shifts from one (language or culture) to the other is the experience on which one introspects. The act of examining this experience, with all its distinctive features, of contemplating it more leisurely is an important introspective exercise, one which has to be entertained frequently until the self learns to enter into it and to know its nature. Transcultural education will not result from conditioning or from memorization, as is often suggested by those who are oriented to respect only overt behaviors. But transcultural education may be the outcome of interaction with many people who have themselves experienced awareness of what true bilingualism and multi-culturalism


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means, especially the act of transcendence of specific cultures, as it is met when one communicates well in more than one language and feels at ease in more than one culture. Living consciously involves increasing self-knowledge and the application of that knowledge in knowing better the three universes (of the self, of significant others, and of the world). The methods of transcultural education will lead some learners to cultural and spiritual transcendence. This outcome cannot be faked. Once reached, it does indeed provide one with a truly human experience that no specific culture and no one language can contain. It is hoped that our theory not only suggests some next steps but also states the long term goal with sufficient clarity to help us to decide what we have to do and how we can best do it.


News Items

1 As a guest of the Japan Association of Language Teachers (JALT) Dr. Gattegno spent two weeks in Tokyo and Osaka from April 28th - May 11th. These fifteen days included nine days of courses for the Advanced Silent Way Diploma but not all the participants could qualify for registration as they had no teaching experience in the Silent Way. The first course was given on a weekend in Tokyo and the next two as two consecutive seminars in Osaka, each of them lasting twenty hours. To the first 58 people registered, to the second 59, and the last had ten of those in Tokyo replace those that could not come back. In spite of their large numbers the seminars had a quality of intimacy that grew all the time as participants became better acquainted with each other and with the seminar leader. Most people were either curious about the Silent Way (talked and written about more and more in a few publications) or wishing to meet its creator, a few had had workshops in New York or Vermont and had been propagators of the word. The Committee of JALT had been invited to consider Dr. Gattegno’s visit and courses by Tom Pendergast Jr. who, in addition to having been in New York and studied the Silent Way, acts as agent in Japan for the language line of Educational Solutions. Apparently because of that it was not easy for him to convince the Committee to sponsor that visit. After the event not only do they know that they can trust his judgment, they also wish as a whole to be hosts for a return visit whenever it is possible. The


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response they witnessed and the satisfaction with the course expressed by the participants removed the sense of risk they felt before the event. Our readers who have attended Dr. Gattegno’s seminars know that he has developed a way of working with groups that involve every one at his or her level and makes possible deeper awarenesses of what is being studied. Language teaching is no exception. And since most teachers know little of the subordination of teaching to learning, there is always a great deal that is new when examining how to take students into account. Demonstration lessons of the type “class within a class� were used to answer enquiries of how one solves particular challenges the Silent Way. The main difference between the seminars in Tokyo and Osaka was to be caused by the fact that one was to end after 20 hours and the other to last for 40 hours. Although the Tokyo group worked very well and was relaxed and concentrating on the matters at hand there was not enough time to take everyone close enough to the most important dynamics of language learning discovered through the Silent Way. The group in Osaka during the last three days managed to reach some of them and to develop a profound enthusiasm for the ways of working made explicit at the meetings. Twelve times during those three days a new topic was brought forward and worked on by the group for 90 minutes. This duration seemed adequate because of the intensity of the concentration and the relaxed minds but also because of the cumulative effects of such examinations and enquiries. Everyone who could contribute had a chance and clarifications could take place all the time because of the sensitivities available as well as the vast experience represented in the group. The final feedbacks at the end of the three 20-hour courses constituted testimonies of the actual learning achieved collectively and they were taped by a number of participants to serve as evidence. No one there doubted that the experience besides being unique was of considerable value to the individuals involved. We now have a number of friends of the Silent Way scattered from Hiroshima in the south to a place 60 miles north of Tokyo.


News Items

In Los Angeles, thirty keen language teachers from the kindergarten level to the University and adult education levels worked for twenty intensive hours in one weekend on those aspects of the Silent Way which they needed most. Integrated in that course the video tapes made many tasks much easier since seeing learners at work on tape seems to require less concentration than when observing a live class full of distractions. From among the thirty, twenty decided to consolidate their gains by inviting Cecilia Bartoli of our staff to give them in late May a 20-hour Italian weekend course. In Vancouver, fifty or so people gathered for an intensive 18-hour weekend course on the study of affectivity and learning. As usual the word affectivity was new to most participants. It took many exercises during two hours to bring its meaning clearly out and lead to its functional adoption by all. Most of the ten or twelve sessions of these three days were devoted to exercises leading to further awareness of the ways energy works in humans. The effectiveness of the exercises was experienced more acutely during the feedback sessions when the participants helped each other sort things out. It therefore seemed that a collective experience transcending each individual’s gain was the summing up of this seminar. The affective tone of this seminar was such that everyone felt that much had been achieved in that short time. Not only was there self knowledge through the exercises there also were a number of doors open on fields of study that attracted people and promised joyful work for the future. In the final feedback session almost all contributions rated the weekend experience as an important one for every one of the speakers. On a few occasions during that visit Dr. Gattegno showed samples of the video tapes, English the Silent Way, and displayed the Japanese materials used in New York to teach that language to foreigners. Interest in both of them was considerable and may serve to generate further links between Japanese educators and Educational Solutions. We shall report the developments in future issues of our Newsletter.


In Favor Of Bilingualism

2 Let us add that various organizations in Japan besides JALT are interested in having some of our staff give courses there to their memberships for languages other than English needed by Japanese business people for international trade and for serving customers overseas. The Silent Way appears as the most effective solution to the challenges met in this context. 3 JALT invited Kuo Shiow Ley of our staff, to give this August in Osaka a 60-hour Mandarin course. Two years ago she gave her first course in Kyoto and left memories which make her return an event that raises joyful expectations in the old and the new participants alike. On her way back she will stop over in Honolulu where her one-day presentation of two years ago prompted friends to ask for a whole week of hers to inform Hawaiian language teachers on how to use the techniques and the materials of the Silent Way. 4 Users of Silent Way materials know that the sound color Fidel which was the only way of introducing students to the sounds of Chinese (a non-alphabetic language). One was made in 1970 and has been used extensively since. During 1977, we were forced to produce a similar one for English the Silent Way for the TV series and another one for the Hebrew tapes. Once we entertained going beyond the functionality of such an instrument (as it is for Chinese) we found that besides the condensed format they produced for large Fidels (like the ones for English or French) they also made possible a number of new exercises which proved pedagogically sound. After producing such an instrument for Hebrew, Arabic, Catalan, Italian and Japanese and using each in classes first at our headquarters and then outside, we found that it was very effective for the teaching of the spoken language. Much more so than anything we had so far. Because the only triggers that are being made available are those for sounds, it is possible to work on their flow in a manner that generates proper stresses, phrasings and melody. Students quickly notice that they can easily produce the required spoken language to a level that pleases them and gets their teacher’s approval. This serves as a motivator to keep them going for the few hours needed for these exercises to yield their maximum crop. After


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that other exercises are introduced to apply the acquired skills and gain new entries into the language via numeration, the printed Fidel, the word charts and the rods. We are producing these sound color Fidels for more and more of the languages we teach. A new edition of the student sets of Fidels and word charts for Words in Color and English the Silent Way will be available early in the Fall. In the September issue of the Newsletter we shall give further information.

Dear Friends, This is the last issue of Volume VII, if you wish to renew your subscription for Volume VIII ‘78-’79, please send us your $6.00 (or $10 if you are overseas) check at your earliest convenience. Thank you.


About Caleb Gattegno Caleb Gattegno is the teacher every student dreams of; he doesn’t require his students to memorize anything, he doesn’t shout or at times even say a word, and his students learn at an accelerated rate because they are truly interested. In a world where memorization, recitation, and standardized tests are still the norm, Gattegno was truly ahead of his time. Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1911, Gattegno was a scholar of many fields. He held a doctorate of mathematics, a doctorate of arts in psychology, a master of arts in education, and a bachelor of science in physics and chemistry. He held a scientific view of education, and believed illiteracy was a problem that could be solved. He questioned the role of time and algebra in the process of learning to read, and, most importantly, questioned the role of the teacher. The focus in all subjects, he insisted, should always be placed on learning, not on teaching. He called this principle the Subordination of Teaching to Learning. Gattegno travelled around the world 10 times conducting seminars on his teaching methods, and had himself learned about 40 languages. He wrote more than 120 books during his career, and from 1971 until his death in 1988 he published the Educational Solutions newsletter five times a year. He was survived by his second wife Shakti Gattegno and his four children.

In Favor Of Bilingualism  
In Favor Of Bilingualism  

Newsletter, Vol. VII No. 5, June 1978